As Wikipedia explains, "Since the premiere of the anime adaptation of Eiichiro Oda's One Piece manga in 1999, Toei Animation has produced fifteen feature films based on the franchise, traditionally released during the Japanese school spring break since 2000." The 15th film in the series, titled One Piece Film: Red has become the ninth highest grossing film of all time in Japan with $120 million in box office, even ahead of Top Gun: Maverick. The film also opened in North America via CrunchyRoll/Sony this weekend with $4.7 Million on Friday (including previews). It is the franchise's highest grossing title to date.
In the MENA region, it is maverick distributors Front Row Filmed Entertainment who have released the film and it has been blowing up box offices. Toei Animation Inc.’ One Piece Film: Red has rocketed to the top of the box office charts in Saudi Arabia and achieved the biggest opening ever for a Japanese Anime in the market. The film finished the weekend at #1 ahead of DC’s Black Adam.
One Piece Film: Red’s opening weekend total (including previews) reached 61,000 admissions and a gross box office of $1.05 million, putting it 14% ahead of the previous record holder Jujutsu Kaisen 0 in terms of admissions, which debuted earlier this year, and 50% ahead of Demon Slayer: Mugen Train. The film also had one of the biggest ever opening days for a PG-12 movie in the Kingdom and the 2nd biggest ever opening day for an animated film behind Universal’s Minions: The Rise of Gru. For context, the opening day figures are higher than Universal’s Jurassic World by 22% (also rated PG-12), 286% bigger than Sonic: The Hedgehog 2 and just 8% lower than Black Adam.
Always ahead of the trends, with its finger on the pulse of what is cool, Front Row has led the way in Anime distribution in recent years in the MENA, releasing several major properties including the previous One Piece Film, Stampede, Dragon Ball Super: Broly and Resurrection ‘F’, Attack On Titan: Chronicle and Makoto Shinkai’s highly acclaimed Weathering With You amongst others. The company also represents the Studio Ghibli catalogue in the Region and has also handled the release of several Anime series such as The Promised Neverland, Akudama Drive and many others.
“We are delighted to see how well One Piece Film: Red has performed this weekend,” said Eli Touma, Front Row’s head of distribution. “Japanese Animes are incredibly popular in the Middle East and particularly in Saudi Arabia and One Piece is the biggest property of them all. We’re eager to continue feeding this audience as they’ve long been underserved in this region.”
The film also opened strongly across the Middle-East with over $400k grossed to date in the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. It is currently playing across all major cinema chains in the region in IMAX.
Front Row Filmed Entertainment is a leading independent film distribution company that acquires all rights for distribution in the Middle East and North Africa based in Dubai (UAE) and with offices in Kuwait and Lebanon. Front Row was launched in 2003 by Gianluca & Michel Chakra and currently boasts a film library of close to 1,000 titles. The company is also partnered with Kuwait National Cinema Company (KNCC) and KSA’s leading cinema chain, MUVI CINEMAS under the banner of Front Row Arabia. They have distributed Cannes winners, as well as Academy Award nominated films and their upcoming titles include Palme D’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, the Michael Gracey directed Robbie Williams biopic Better Man and Samuel Jackson & Uma Thurman starrer The Kill Room.